For reviews see Keyword Press


The Mirror of Human Life by Jane Clark and Derek Connon.

A handbook to François Couperin’s Harpsichord pieces, with explorations of the social, literary and theatrical worlds from which he drew so much of his inspiration.

This will be a second, revised edition of the book first published by King’s Music in 2002, incorporating the latest research and including a new essay by Jane Clark on the architecture of the Ordres.


Reflections on François Couperin's Pièces de Clavecin
by Jane Clark and Derek Connon
ISBN 1-871775-10-8

This is now sold out. A second, revised edition of the book first published by Kings Music in 2002 is in preparation, incorporating the latest research and including a new essay by Jane Clark on the architecture of the Ordres. It will be published later this year by Keyword Press.

A greater understanding of the topicality of these titles and of the burlesque or satirical tone that lies behind some of them sharpens the music’s effect on our senses. These pieces are not all benign and charming portraits, agreeably presenting the sitters. From them Couperin emerges as a keener critic of his age than at first sight would appear. The tone of irony and satire creates an altogether more complex picture of his musical language and in these portraits we may glimpse much that is missing from the conventional sources about Couperin’s milieu. (Clark 1992).

This excerpt from the THE NEW GROVE Second Edition refers to the Bate Collection Handbook, François Couperin, Pièces de Clavecin, The Background by Jane Clark (Oxford 1992).

In this new publication Jane Clark is joined by Derek Connon. A far wider vision of Couperin’s interests and influences is presented, particularly his close involvement with the theatre and his specific references to it in his harpsichord music. Jane Clark’s CD, School of Politesse, (Janiculum JAN D206), sets out to illustrate this aspect of the music.

Derek Connon is Professor of French at the University of Wales, Swansea. He has published two monographs on the eighteenth-century novelist, playwright and philosopher Diderot and a number of articles on French theatre from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries. He has also edited two collections of essays on French theatre and plays by Musset and Saurin, as well as an anthology of works from the early opéra-comique of the Parisian Fairs. He is a keen violinist and violist and his interest in music has fed into his research in an article on Sartre and Puccini and a comparison of the operatic theories of Beaumarchais and Mozart.


"Chapters on the social and cultural background and the literary/theatrical world will be of interest to more than just lovers of Couperin as his milieu was, of course, also that of his contemporaries... catalogue of all the Pièces de Clavecin with comments on their titles...there is a wealth of fascinating detail here which players should certainly read."
Early Music Review, December 2002.

"Les amateurs de musique liront ce livre anglais avec délectation: ils y trouveront la signification, pièce par pièce, de tous lest titres de François Couperin, leur origine, les allusions qui s'y cachent. La connaissance ajoute au plaisir."
Le Nouvel Observateur, 13 March 2003.

"Indispensable! One word characterizes this new book by Jane Clark and
Derek Connon."
The Diapason (USA), March 2003

See for further reviews.

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